Black Sheep member Barbara Shapiro will share images and objects from two recent trips to Japan highlighting textiles and baskets she encountered. On a Longhouse Reserve tour to the Beppu area in Oita Prefecture in the south of Japan, known for thermal baths and hot springs, she visited museum collections, saw artisans working in bamboo and stayed in a tiny mountain village where young people live simple lives working in sustainable textile practices far from the bustle of Tokyo.
On the 11th International Shibori Symposium tour to Yamagata Prefecture in Northern Japan she had amazing experiences exploring bast fibers, sashiko stitching and natural safflower harvesting, processing and the dyeing of four colors from a single plant, which the area is known for.
Workshop and museums completed the experience in this mountainous area with long snowy winters. One highlight was a prehistoric weaving device for a twined bast fiber fabric that predates loom woven cloth.
These two very different tours, led by Yoshiko Wada, explored Japan’s rich cultural textile heritage.